Category Archives: Volunteer Bloggers

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Choose Hope

We are living in challenging and fearful times. Our normal routines have been upended and we don’t know what the future holds for us and our families.

I am working on channeling this surreal experience into something more positive. The more I think about it, the more fear seems to imply passivity and giving up control. Fear often keeps you frozen in inaction and afraid.

A few months ago, I had a bout with vertigo. As I was getting out of bed, I felt like I was spinning. It continued for several days and I felt so dizzy I had to use a walker. Needless to say, it was quite unnerving. Once diagnosed, I did attend two vestibular therapy sessions, which seemed to help.

I thought I was 100% better so I went back to my normal exercise routine at the Y. Once in the pool, I started doing the backstroke. When I reached the deep end and turned around, I kicked off from the wall and the next thing I knew I was under water. I was terrified. Luckily, the lifeguards were right there and although I was able to right myself, they helped me out of the pool.

I was afraid to lap swim in the pool and resigned myself to missing my favorite Y event, the indoor triathlon. However, my friend Cindy, a swimming instructor at the YMCA, offered to work with me. I put it off for a while, then finally decided I wanted to conquer this fear. And, I still had time to register for the tri. I arrived at the pool 8 am sharp Monday morning. Cindy got in the lane with me and asked if I was afraid. I blurted out that I wasn’t afraid but concerned. She smiled and said she would be worried if I wasn’t. An AHA moment! That’s when I realized the big difference between fear and concern. Had I been fearful, I never would have gotten back in the lap lane. But by being concerned, I recognized I needed to take precautions (such as stopping if I felt dizzy and not pushing off from the wall to quickly). Concern put me in charge; I was not ruled by fear. And yes, I did complete the indoor triathlon.

Onto current events. Yes, this coronavirus is serious stuff. As someone over 60 with a preexisting condition I am in the high-risk category. I am also thinking about my daughter-in-law, who is due to deliver in April. She miscarried last January, and we are all praying that she delivers a healthy son. I think about the world he will be brought into. But no, I am not fearful; I’m concerned. Taking control of what I can has helped me deal with all the uncertainty. I can’t control the stock market, I can’t control the behavior of others, but I can control what measures I put in place to avoid contamination and help keep my family healthy. I am sad that I may not be able to see my newborn grandson soon, but it is a small sacrifice to pay. I’m pretty much staying at home, only going out to walk weather permitting.

What is helping me get through this difficult time is hope. As Maya Angelou said, “Hope and fear cannot occupy the same space at the same time. Invite one to stay.” I am inviting hope.

Take care of yourself and your family. Stay healthy and realize that this too will pass. We may be physically isolated, but we don’t have to be socially isolated thanks to technology. With hope, we will get through this.

Category : Deb , Volunteer Bloggers


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Certainty in an uncertain time

I am in my 3rd trimester with baby number 2. Things were going so well, I actually allowed myself to feel certain that everything would be okay. I am a stay at home mom and have been busy with my ever growing toddler who has suddenly developed preferences and quite a little attitude when things don’t go her way. Keeping busy with her has allowed me to keep my mind off of the ever looming thoughts of “what could go wrong” that I became so accustomed to after having two losses.

In February, I got the flu. I went to the doctor to get it confirmed. I thought that would be the one hiccup for this pregnancy. I was down and out for about 2 weeks but recovered just fine. My toddler had some sort of little virus for about a week at the same time as me. She tested negative for the flu thankfully, but what a week that was. Being sick with the flu while taking care of a sick toddler….I wouldn’t wish that scenario on my worst enemy!

Once March began, life decided to throw some uncertainty at me and the rest of the world. I am pregnant during a pandemic. I never imagined that would happen. Every time I turn on the news things seem to get worse. I have heard the hospitals around us are starting to fill up with coronavirus patients (even the one where I will be delivering) and I am due to give birth in 9 weeks, give or take a week. I have multiple family members in the medical field who I worry about daily, three of whom are in my immediate family (my dad and two of my brothers). And of course there isn’t enough data to show if the virus is particularly dangerous for pregnant women. Classic, not enough data for a subject in women’s health. I guess we should all be use to that.

Now how am I supposed to make myself believe certain things will be okay when the entire world is in a state of uncertainty?

I am trying even harder than usual to focus on the positives. I am grateful that I have already been a stay at home mom, so I was mentally ready for the quarantine period that they keep extending. I am putting extra focus into my daughter and really trying to emulate her carefree attitude. She is a joy and hardly ever gives us trouble. She is our rainbow baby and I am relishing in that fact. She is our sunshine every day in this gloomy time. My husband is able to work from home, so we aren’t being affected badly financially for the time being. With the elimination of his commute, he is able to spend more time with our daughter than he would during a normal week. And this pregnancy has gone smoothly thus far. Every time I feel this baby kick I am reminded that this new baby is another rainbow for us and for our families. This new baby will help maintain the light that my daughter currently provides. We’ll be going from coronavirus quarantine to newborn quarantine. I am grateful my hospital is currently allowing at least one person to be with me during delivery. I have seen on the news that in NY some hospitals were saying you wouldn’t be allowed to have anyone. I hope that changes for the women about to give birth soon. I can’t imagine going through delivery without my husband.

Experiencing miscarriage has helped me learn to find and focus on the certainties in an otherwise uncertain situation. I am certain that my husband and I will do everything we can to keep my daughter and new baby safe. I am certain my hospital and the brave staff members will do everything they can to ensure a safe delivery. I am certain that we will bring this new baby home to a happy, positive environment in this crazy uncertain time.

(Kids started putting rainbow pictures in their windows in the UK and US as a symbol of hope of better days ahead. Some families in my neighborhood did it the other day. My featured image is the rainbow we posted on our storm door.)

Category : Kate , Volunteer Bloggers


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Every Precious Moment

March is Pregnancy After Loss Awareness Month, so what better time to say it: I’m pregnant. Again. Not quite out of the first trimester yet and terrified after 4 consecutive pregnancy losses. Our baby has a strong heartbeat and is growing on schedule but the reality of pregnancy after loss is that the predominant feeling I have is fear. Every step of the way I find myself waiting for the other shoe to drop. For something to go wrong. I struggle with trusting my body to keep this baby safe.

But despite my fear, I’ve realized something these past few weeks: my history of loss also makes this pregnancy experience different in ways that can bring us new joy. We are doing things our way, trying our best to savor every precious moment. Typically people don’t do much to mark their pregnancies during the first trimester. The typical advice is to hold off on buying anything. Keep yourself from getting too attached in case it doesn’t work out. We have thrown it all out the window. The bottom line is that if we lose this baby it will hurt – a lot. It has every time. Nothing we do or don’t do during this time is going to make it hurt any less.

This shift in attitude has brought us some of the most beautiful moments of my life. I’ve found out our baby’s sex, sobbing through tears on the phone first with the embryologist who shared the genetic test results of the embryo we had transferred and then with my wife sharing the good news. Feeling so grateful to have one small piece of information about this tiny person I am growing. We found out our daughter’s sex only after her death last summer and I wanted to have this moment while our baby was still living …. in case we didn’t get far enough along to have it later.

We bought some adorable newborn clothing. Walking through the baby section at Target for the first time in years without crying in frustration and sadness. Excited to purchase something special just for this baby.

We told close family and friends knowing that we wanted them to share in our joy at this pregnancy, and our sadness and grief if it doesn’t work out. We don’t share that we have a baby coming in October 2020. We don’t know yet whether that is going to happen. All we have is today, and these incredible little moments that we will do our best to soak in and enjoy as long as they last.

In pregnancy after loss, like with many things related to infertility and miscarriage, there is both great joy and great sadness, each coming to the surface in a million little ways every day. I’m doing my best to honor them both in every precious moment.

Category : Meredith , Volunteer Bloggers


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Five Things This Spring

I know it’s just early March and lots of us are still in the winter weather season…..BUT I want us to think about the beauty of spring! It’s the season where all the dead trees come to life. It’s the beautiful time where we remember the exquisite resurrection of Jesus Christ. It’s a season of fresh flowers, fresh air and a fresh perspective.

Many of us barely made it through the holidays. Let’s face it, Christmas is a BEAUTIFUL season, but for many people it is a time of sadness and remembering what we don’t have and were so close to embracing – a child. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think we’re all just gloom and doom during the holidays……BUT I know the reality is that it’s a season where we feel the pang of grief at unexpected moments throughout the season.

BUT GOD….. Spring is here. He has risen. I’m SO excited for a fresh start into a beautiful new season.

Who is with me here?

I want to challenge each of us to come up with five different things we can do this spring season and really allow God to work in the new! My five things will be:

  1. Allowing myself one day a week where I either ride my bike or take a long walk with the pups to just get some fresh air, time alone with the Lord and enjoy the spring season.
  2. Visit my mama more. I really need to do this more often.
  3. Write more. I have so much on my heart to get out into the world and I don’t make time for it.
  4. Make more time for friendships; take more coffee talk breaks and enjoy sisterhood a bit more.
  5. Turn up the music loudly, open up the windows and clean and dance for an afternoon. I definitely need do this WAY MORE OFTEN!

So, let’s give SPRING a chance y’all! Let’s stop and smell the flowers and remember that this life isn’t meant for us to hold on to the grief forever. Let’s allow this to be a season of skipping through the garden knowing that God is good. I’m cheering you on and would LOVE to hear what your five things will be!

xoxo,

Cryssie

Category : Cryssie , Volunteer Bloggers


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The Next Journey is Brighter

“So this is what 40 looks like,” my mother said sarcastically in shock when I walked through the door with a new nose piercing. She didn’t press the issue and we went about our evening as usual. For a long time I have contemplated getting a nose ring as a cultural symbol. In many Indian cultures a nose ring represents marriage and fertility. Since 2012, my husband, Anthony and I started our journey to parenthood and this path has brought us much joy in the mist of loss and hardships. So to commemorate my 40th birthday, I chose to set the stage for the next decade and start this chapter with me in control of my own narrative by doing something that marks a new path of renewal and rejuvenation within me.

For me, 2020 is a year of reflection and celebration. Ten years ago I met Anthony when I was in a place of heartache and brokenness. I had no clear vision of my future. I had lost hope in relationships and I was conflicted within myself. The first night we met, he told me that he was looking for his wife and mother of his kids. I quickly laughed and rolled my eyes because I had not imagined myself this way. In that moment I was emotionally drained and my dreams were mostly abstract. With my heart guarded, Anthony asked me to trust him in love and I gave it one more chance and took his hand and he has kept his promise to me ever since.

Anthony reads my blogs and I love how he embraces our family as a whole. Since I wrote about her namesake Genesis, Anthony refers to her by name now. It surprised me when he first said her name. To be honest, I have not said it outside of writing it because I didn’t know how it would sound, but Anthony just embraced what I was feeling and made it real by adapting it to our daily lives. And it does make me smile. Just by using her name, it encompasses our journey and shared experience between us. It has brightened a painful experience and it has definitely helped us move forward with healing. For two years I have postponed finishing a family tree mural in my son’s room, but now I have much more peace and plan to finish it. Now I have a place for her sonogram to be seen by everyone because it’s important that her existence as limited as it was on earth is acknowledged and included in our family tree.

I look around me and I am surrounded by so much love. Purposefully God has blessed me with boys and a dotting husband so I can experience love where I thought I was tainted and dishonest because of my insecurities of abandonment. I was scared to have a girl because I didn’t know if I could help her navigate this world, but I know now that she would have the love and protection of her father and brothers and I feel at ease knowing that she would be loved and know true love from her conception.

For some months now I have contemplated whether we should try again for another child. What is my motivation to have another child? I remember when I scheduled my c-section for my second son I was asked if I wanted to tie my tubes and I said no because I feel a sense of guilt for finally being blessed with children. Is it wrong of me to feel like I am ready to move on and revert this energy to my own self care now? This sounds selfish to me like I am somehow disappointing women who are currently struggling with infertility and loss. My thoughts are flooded with questions. Does it mean if I move on that I am turning away from or trying to forget my own pregnancy loss? Why am I relating loss with not living? At what point is it okay to move forward and start living in comfort and peace?

For me it is important to share my story. It is amazing to me how many women have experienced pregnancy loss and infertility and yet our voices are mute in the public health discourse. I reflect on my journey and it fuels me to help those around me. Maybe its a comforting word, a listening ear or using my voice and platform to advance the conversation on women’s health and our well being. There is so much more that needs to be done and maybe that is where I can be useful and channel my energy.

My health is important. I am 40 now and I need to take care of me. Having another child does not change that fact. So my goal is to take care of me so that I can be the best version of me for me and my boys (hubby included). I want to experience their own growth and grow as a family in our experiences together and as individuals. I want to concentrate on their milestones and focus on their individual needs. And most importantly, start taking care of me. I am taking it one day at a time and each day brings new revelations. I am excited for what this new decade has in store for me and my life view is much more clearer.

 

Category : Tracy , Volunteer Bloggers


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The Future

Our future is so uncertain. No matter how much you plan out life things don’t always go the way that you want it to.

As we look forward to our next baby joining us in May we are choosing to not make many plans for this coming year. We are definitely excited and are making some vague plans to spend time at the beach and camping, but no official plans yet.

We know that life with a new little one can go as planned or quite the opposite depending on how the baby adapts to life outside of the womb. Our daughter loved being in her car seat or the ergo carrier so it wasn’t too hard to accommodate a newborn into our plans. We will see how this new little one is.

As we move closer to our due date it has me remembering what my pregnancy with my daughter was like. I was very nervous all the way to the end. I truly believed that she may never come home with us, and even after she was home with us I still couldn’t believe she was there at times.

Those feelings are still there this time around. Some days they are worse than with my daughter but some days I am able to put the worry aside and enjoy this pregnancy.

When I was pregnant with our daughter I stopped working at 28 weeks due to the stress of my work at the time and commuting from one city to another. This pregnancy has been easier in that way and I plan to try and work until 34 weeks if I can. I am 29 weeks now, And even though we have a toddler at home I feel like I have a little more energy now than I did last time.

No one can predict how this baby will come into this world and when but one thing that is certain when this baby gets here we will start to make many plans for the future.

I will get to enjoy this baby’s first summer off of work, we will fill the days with many adventures and fun. We are looking forward to see how our daughter will interact with the new addition as well. Will she be jealous? Fall in love with our baby right away? Or not want the baby to stay here?

The future is so uncertain but it sure does look bright.

Category : Amanda , Volunteer Bloggers


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How Do You See Them?

“How do you see them?”

This was the first time I’ve ever been asked this.  I didn’t know how to answer at first. We made a hard choice not to name our babies, we didn’t do a ceremony, we chose to let them live facelessly. Whether that was the right choice or not, I can’t say, but I can tell you, it leads you to be unprepared when you get a question like that.

Recently, a friend posted an image titled “What grieving parents get talked to about vs. what a grieving parent wants to talk about.” One of the points is that a grieving parent wants to talk about their child that they lost, they want to speak about them, they want to say their name, they want to get that chance to share that special light with someone else.

Being asked “How do you see them” was the first opportunity I’ve had to take a moment and talk about them, not as a point of pain, of hurt, or grief, but as pieces of me that are no longer here. Individuals.

So how do I see my losses? I see them as energy, to be honest. Not as ghosts, so no need to call up a young priest and an old priest, but as something extra in the environment around me.

Their energy gives me patience and perspective in the grief of others. To sit in those feelings and be supportive to help empower and acknowledge them.

Their energy allows me to be vulnerable and acknowledge that even though my cup may never be full,  it is not broken.

Their energy I am convinced gives their older sister energy, which isn’t so great at 5:30 AM on a Saturday, but it is great when she puts that extra energy into other kids and people that seem way beyond her years.

In our sucky club of pregnancy and infant loss, there is so much we want people to know, especially because we are never asked. As many on this blog have posted about, the darkness of grief is present and encompassing. Ask questions like “How do you see them?” because even if you don’t get an answer right away, or an answer that makes sense, or maybe even you feel uncomfortable,  that acknowledgment means the world. That opportunity means the world simply because you are shedding light and acknowledging the gravity of the grief that is, not at some superficial level, but at a deep and important level.

Category : Paul , Volunteer Bloggers


Welcome!

If you’ve come to this blog, it likely means you have suffered a pregnancy loss of some type. We are so sorry you have found yourself here, but hope the stories of life after loss can help you on your road to healing and recovery. Remember, we are all in this together!

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